COMMENTS: Tortuous Testimony

"It is like chasing ghosts." That is how NBC's Jim Miklaszewski quoted an unidentified senator after hearings into how the Pentagon approved "new, tougher interrogation techniques" against inmates at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base--we can call it torture even if Miklaszewski was too squeamish to use the word. The witness at Senate hearings was William Haynes, a senior legal advisor in 2002 to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Rumsfeld approved such questionable methods as sleep deprivation, the use of dogs and stripping suspects naked, "techniques which lawmakers claim violate the Geneva Convention and migrated to abu-Ghraib Prison in Iraq." When Haynes was asked how Rumsfeld made his decision, Haynes testified: "My memory is not great. I do not have first-hand knowledge." Compared with a Guantanamo detainee, mused Miklaszewski, "Haynes proved even harder to break."

CBS' Sheila MacVicar reported on the violence in Afghanistan from London. She narrated a compilation of jihadist videotapes to illustrate the "dramatic increase in suicide bombs in Afghanistan since 2006. More of those attacks are now being carried out by children." She told us the sad tale of 14-year-old Shukirullah, a student at a Pakistani madrassah near Peshawar. Upon graduation he was ordered to the Afghan city of Khost, where he was arrested in a raid. MacVicar quoted the teenager: "The imam told me they were sending me to Afghanistan to become a suicide bomber. I told him I wanted to go home to see my mother." The Afghan Intelligence Service claims explosives were found in the house where the teenager was arrested. Instead of blowing himself up Shukirullah faces years in Afghan prison--"saved from one tragedy but facing another."

NBC had Jim Maceda file a stand-up from Baghdad over videotape of the carnage at al-Hurriya market in a Shiite neighborhood. A carbomb exploded near a bus stop killing more than 50 shoppers. "It shattered a growing sense of security as well after three to four months of relatively low violence."


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